The long-awaited reconstruction of the small but busy El Camino Park is finally set to kick off next month after the City Council signed off on more than $5 million in contracts to pay for a host of park amenities.
The council approved on Dec. 15 a pair of construction contracts with Goodland Landscape Construction, Inc. for a project that has been in planning limbo since October 2011 when the park was closed so that the city could install an underground reservoir. The reservoir project was completed in January of this year, while plans for the park improvements continued to evolve.
Under a plan that the council approved in October, the parks' two grass fields will be replaced with synthetic turf, four new field lights will be installed to allow evening play, and a new bathroom and scorekeeper booth will be built. There will also be a new bike path from El Camino Park to the downtown Caltrain station, an expanded parking lot and new benches.
The council had previously considered including a dog exercise area in the park's design, but that plan was scrapped because of the park's proximity to the San Francisquito Creek, which includes endangered steelhead trout. Even with the emission, the project's total budget is now estimated at about $5.7 million, roughly $3 million higher than what the council expected to spend in April 2012, when it signed off on an earlier design.
The council approved two contracts with Goodland Landscape Construction, Inc., including a $4.4 million contract for construction and an up to $444,151 contract for "additional but unforeseen work" that may develop during the project. The council also approved a $319,880 contract with NOVA Partners for construction management.
The city received five bids for the project, with prices ranging from $4.4 million to $5.3 million. All bids were higher than the city's cost estimate of $4.23 million. A report from the Public Works Department notes that the range of the bids is "indicative of a changing economic climate where many recent project starts both locally and regionally are driving up construction prices."
The council signed off on the contracts on its consent calendar without any discussion or dissent. The staff report states that construction on El Camino Park is expected to begin in January 2015 and to be completed in October.